For good or evil?

290 of the nation’s Catholic bishops will meet at the Capitol Hyatt for their yearly business meeting and to tie up loose ends on the massive sexual-abuse crisis that has shaken the U.S. Catholic Church to its core in the past two years. Although it’s been less than a year since the church revealed that there were 10,667 cases of abuse committed by 4,392 priests in a 50-year period, the message at the meeting will be that the crisis is under control. But it’s far from over, says a local Catholic priest who says the true source of the crisis is a priesthood that is “honeycombed” with homosexual clerics, especially in the Diocese of Arlington.

However, attempts by the Rev. James Haley, 48, to persuade his bishop of the problem have backfired. After hearing from the priest about numerous instances of homosexual activity among diocesan clergy, Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde ordered the priest silenced Oct. 23, 2001. This “precept of silence” — usually only employed during church trial proceedings — is rarely used to silence a whistleblower….

Father Haley says his only crime is his insistence that homosexual priests, not solely pedophiles, are at the root of the sexual-abuse crisis. The Catholic priesthood is demoralized, he says, by groups of homosexual clerics who control who gets admitted to seminary, which men get nominated for bishop and which priests get the plum parishes. Based on his 17 years in the priesthood, he estimates that 60 percent of the Diocese of Arlington’s 127 diocesan priests are homosexuals, which is high compared with national estimates of 30 percent to 50 percent from other authorities on the priesthood.

I’ve never been one to subscribe to anti-Catholicism, although like Big Chilly, there is considerable humor to be found in referring to our Catholic friends as papists. It is more the church hierarchy’s response to the crisis of homosexual abuse in the priesthood than the incidence of abuse itself that is making me wonder if perhaps those that I’d always considered to be Protestant whackos might not be a little closer to the truth than I’d previously thought.

Then, too, there was this recent statement with regards to the unlamented dead terrorist: “Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement that Arafat

‘was a leader of great charisma, who loved his people and who sought to guide them toward national independence. May God, in his mercy, receive the soul of the illustrious deceased’….”

This truly does not strike me as an organization that is on the same side I’m on.